Thoughts on how Peter’s act was still good and not in conflict with Jesus’ clearly taught examples?
Yes, so this is why I am confused. Why does God seem to behave so differently? When Christ was on earth, He strictly taught Mercy (and even in the case of Judas’ thievery which was allowed by Christ) going so far as to reprimand his apostles.
That is really not the reality of Christ’s example. It might be really Catholic if we looked at the reasons why Jesus of Nazareth is never shown in the Gospels as smiling or laughing, against suppositions by the confused.
That very same loving Christ to His own Apostles, “whom He loved to the end”, exclaimed: “Have you no sense, no wits, are your hearts dulled, can’t you see, your ears hear, don’t you remember?” (Mk 8:17-18) (Frank Sheed, Christ In Eclipse, Sheed & Ward 1978, p 42). "With individuals He was very much the doctor with a duty not only to tell them what was wrong with them, but to make sure they realized it.” (Ibid. p 40-41).
St John is a good example of the ways of Jesus as the Way, apparently unknown, like much else, to many. John “had met the hard firmness three times: when he and his brother asked for high places in Christ’s kingdom, his ambition was tossed back on him so decisively (Mk 10:35-41); when he wanted fire from heaven to consume a Samaritan city which would not receive Christ, he was rebuked, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are, for the Son of man came not to destroy men’s lives but to save them’ (Lk 9:56); when he asked how Peter was to die he was told in effect to mind his own business (Jn 21:22).”
The forgotten reality that is Jesus of Nazareth is given by the great Frank Sheed:
“Certainly, some people who knew Christ in His lifetime would have been startled to find so much made of His loving kindness, indeed might have wondered if you were talking of the same person.”
Frank Sheed points out that Jesus was simply not given to sentimental utterances, and we have just seen how he handled John. Jesus shows plenty of the emotions of anger and grief – at those who accused Him of breaking the Sabbath when he healed (Mk 3:5). We never see Him smile, and His settled habit was terseness of speech. He made it His duty to tell people what was wrong with them, and made sure they realised it.
He refers us to the Gentile woman who “must have felt His ‘Do you want Me to take the bread of the children and give it to dogs?’ as an assertion of her inferiority as a Gentile:…did she feel Him loving?” (Mk 7:25)
So much for the false “acceptance” so often attributed to the Christ who told the woman taken in adultery to “sin no more” as she had breached the sixth commandment – which ensured that she paid more attention to the law. (Jn 8:3-11).
On the multitude however “he had compassion, for they were helpless and harassed like sheep without a shepherd.” (Mt 9:36). So, beware of the wolves in sheep’s clothing.
[See *Christ In Eclipse, Frank Sheed, Sheed & Ward, 1978, p 40-41].
On Christ’s compassion for the multitude the incomparable Sheed continues:
“Yet one wonders how much He showed it: for they too had to have the truth. His settled habit was terseness of speech. When His mother told Him of her sorrow and Joseph’s for having deserted them for three days His answer began, ‘Didn’t you know–’ then He went home ‘and was obedient to them’. When she suggested a miracle at Cana, His words were ‘what does it have to do with us?’ – then He worked the miracle.”
“I see why some of my friends find Him not very attractive. He seems not to have spread Himself to win affection. Yet He did, in His lifetime, draw people to Him: yet something in the personality must have given the bluntness of his words a different feel. And this comes through in the Gospel pages, now as all down through the centuries.” Christ in Eclipse, p 41-42].
St Peter was given special power to curb heresy and display truth.